The UFC tries to regain some normalcy once more this weekend, taking their show on the road to a sold-out Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. The 17,000 fans in attendance will get to witness history, as we’re guaranteed (barring something unforeseen) a new UFC Lightweight Champion to be crowned in the main event of UFC 262.
While the fight lineup has taken a couple of big hits, with scheduled Leon Edwards-Nate Diaz and Jack Hermansson-Edmen Shahbazyan fights being pulled from the card and pushed ahead a few weeks, it’s still a nice 12-fight slate. Now, let’s get down to work and pick ourselves some winners.
The main event, for the aforementioned vacant lightweight title (Khabib Nurmagomedov retired as the champion) is between two veterans – Charles ‘Do Bronx’ Oliveira and Michael Chandler (whose nickname is apparently ‘Iron’, but I’ve never heard him referred to as that). Despite these two fighters being professional mixed martial artists for well over a decade, it’s hard to figure out what we’re going to get from each of them in this matchup.
Oliveira is one of the hottest fighters currently in the UFC, winning eight straight and nine of ten. However, he was more known in the past as a fighter who struggled to make weight (back when he was a featherweight) and one who would occasionally throw up a stinker in the cage and appear to quit. All that seems to have changed with the move to lightweight and his current torrid streak. Not only are his impressive grappling credentials winning him fights via submission, but he’s also finished two of his last four opponents with strikes.
Chandler, on the other hand, is an unknown quantity because he has spent most of his career in Bellator, where he was their Lightweight Champion three times. While he fought many tough fighters, the competition level in Bellator just isn’t on par with the UFC. Additionally, his lone UFC appearance lasted two and a half minutes before he TKO’d Dan Hooker. He’s a relentless wrester with heavy hands.
So, who do I like in this one? My opinion has flip-flopped quite a bit but having done the research I’ve decided to back Oliveira. I think if Chandler tries to force this into a wrestling match, Do Bronx’s extremely dangerous and unique jiu-jitsu skills will allow him to submit his opponent. Oliveira at
20/29 is the pick, and if you are feeling frisky, splash some money down on him via submission at
Dariush to Take Care of Veteran Ferguson
Lightweights are also in the co-main event slot, with Tony Ferguson facing Beneil Dariush. I’m fading Ferguson, as we like to say in the biz, and backing Dariush in this battle. Ferguson has not looked like his former self over the past few fights, dropping his last two, and I think he’s washed up at age 37. Additionally, Dariush is no slouch, having won six straight fights, and is equally dangerous striking or grappling. Dariush, who is also five years Ferguson’s junior, is my choice at
We’ll finish up with some live dogs, as per usual. I’m going with Viviane Araujo at
11/10 in her women’s flyweight bout against former title challenger Katlyn Chookagian. Araujo, who has won two straight and four of five, is the more active striker of the two and has superior grappling stats. Let’s also take Lando ‘Groovy’ Vannata at even money (
1/1) against Mike Grundy in a featherweight fight. While Grundy is a very good wrestler and will surely get Vannata down, I don’t think he will be able to keep him there and Groovy Lando has the advantage on the feet.
*All odds correct at time of writing.